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Steve February 27, 2013

Get ready to limp out of bed tomorrow.  It’s time to feed the calves with a steady diet of raises, raises, and more raises; they’ll grow in no time.

Don’t fall into over thinking a workout plan.  Keep things simple, focus on strict form, and change it up when necessary.  Calves are notoriously tough for many to really sculpt and develop.  They’re stubborn, and that’s why they’ve become one of my favorites.

If your current calf workout consists of a couple rushed sets of 10 reps on the way to the locker room, listen up.  A more strategic approach will put tears in your eyes and have you staggering to work—in a good way!

Better Form = Better Calves

Most calf development seekers get hung up on hitting the gastrocs and soleus muscles in their calves with equal volume and force— it’s not a horrible approach, it’s just not the most effective.  It’s imperative to really stretch the calf muscle on the negative movement, and really squeeze the top of the contraction.  By controlling that range of motion all the way through, you’ll see amazing results and never look back (well only in a mirror).

The recommended approach to calf work is a pretty straightforward mixture of form and failure:

  1. Use a full range of motion for each rep, and make the reps slow and controlled.  Don’t bounce on, say, the calf raise machine.  You know who you are!
  2. Go as heavy as possible while staying in the repetition guideline, while observing Rule No. 1.
  3. Fail on every set when working stubborn muscles groups.
  4. Implement a fury of exercise variety to shock the different angles


Alternate the below calf exercises for the next four weeks or so, focusing on training calves twice a week total.  For variety and muscle confusion, try to train calves on a randomly chosen day in the week in addition to the other being on the main leg day.  To put real emphasis on blowing up your calves, train them hard first with 100% commitment and energy, before any other muscle group in the workout on that given training day; get them out of the way.

Select a weight where you fail near the top end of the prescribed rep range.  If you can crank 20 reps on these moves, for example, you went too light.

By the way, the below mentioned single-leg leg-press calf raises, which are the prelude to your drop sets to burnout those rocks under your knees, should make it hard to walk.  You’re welcome.


Reverse Hack Squat Calf Raise  5 sets of 12-15 reps

and/or SUPER SET

Single Leg Horizontal Leg Press Calf Raise: 4 sets for 10 reps each side (alternate starting leg each set)


Horizontal Leg Press External Calf Raise: 4 sets for 8-10 reps


As an alternate to putting the burn on those calves also try-

Leg Press Heels Angled Out Calf Raise: 5 sets for 10-12 reps


Remember, go to failure to succeed!!!  For additional Calf Exercises to surely keep your routine fresh, go to www.feelfitastic.com and simply click on the “Calf” icon on the home page.

In Good Health




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